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Ii8 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

first Emily had declared that she never, never
could marry any one; but Mr. Lester had
quietly persevered, and had at last won her
reluctant assent. Two children also were the
fruits of this union, and, as they grew and
prospered, Emily declared that she had never
supposed she could live to be so happy.

The worthy merchant's home, one of those
large, substantial brick mansions frequently
jammed up in old-fashioned towns, faced directly
on the High Street, nearly opposite to the
grocery shop of the Jollifies, and it now became
the pain of Joanna to behold the woman, whose
place she had usurped out of pure covetousness,
looking down from her position of comparative
wealth upon the humble shop-window with its
dusty sugar-loaves, heaps of raisins, and
canisters of tea, over which it was her own lot
to preside. The business having so dwindled,
Joanna was obliged to serve in the shop herself,
and it galled and mortified her that Emily



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 119

Lester, sitting in her large drawing-room
over the way, could witness her own dancings
up and down behind the counter at the beck
and call of wretched twopenny customers,
whose patronage she was driven to welcome
gladly : persons to whom she was compelled
to be civil in the street, while Emily was
bounding along with her children and her
governess, and conversing with the genteelest
people of the town and neighbourhood. This
was what she had gained by not letting Shad-
rach Jolliffe, whom she had so faintly loved,
carry his affection elsewhere.

Shadrach was a good and honest man, and
he had been faithful to her in heart and in
deed. Time had clipped the wings of his love
for Emily in his devotion to the mother of his
boys : he had quite lived down that impulsive
earlier fancy, and Emily had become in his
regard nothing more than a friend. It was
the same with Emily's feelings for him.



120 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

Possibly, had she found the least cause for
jealousy, Joanna would almost have been better
satisfied. It was in the absolute acquiescence
of Emily and Shadrach in the results she her-
self had contrived that her discontent found
nourishment.

Shadrach was not endowed with the narrow
shrewdness necessary for developing a retail
business in the face of many competitors. Did
a customer inquire if the grocer could really
recommend the wondrous substitute for eggs
which a persevering bagman had forced into
his stock, he would answer that " when you did
not put eggs into a pudding it was difficult
to taste them there ; " and when he was asked
if his " real Mocha coffee " was real Mocha,
he would say grimly, " as understood in small
shops."

One summer day, when the big brick house
opposite was reflecting the oppressive sun's
heat into the shop, and nobody was present



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 121

but husband and wife, Joanna looked across
at Emily's door, where a carriage had drawn
up. Traces of patronage had been visible in
Emily's manner of late.

" Shadrach, the truth is, you are not a
business man," his wife sadly murmured.
" You were not brought up to shopkeeping,
and it is impossible for a man to make a
fortune at an occupation he has jumped into,
as you did into this."

Jolliffe agreed with her, in this as in every-
thing else. " Not that I care a rope's end about
making a fortune," he said cheerfully. " I am
happy enough, and we can rub on somehow."

She looked again at the great house through
the screen of bottled pickles.

" Rub on yes," she said bitterly. " But
see how well off Emmy Lester is, who used to
be so poor ! Her boys will go to college, no
doubt; and think of yours obliged to go
to the National School ! "



122 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

Shadrach's thoughts had flown to Emily.

" Nobody," he said, good humouredly, " ever
did Emily a better turn than you did, Joanna,
when you warned her off me and put an end
to that little simpering nonsense between us,
so as to leave it in her power to say : ' Aye '
to Lester when he came along."

This almost maddened her.

" Don't speak of bygones ! " she implored, in
stern sadness. " But think, for the boys' and
my sake, if not for your own, what are we to
do to get richer ? "

"Well," he said, becoming serious, "to tell
the truth, I have always felt myself unfit for
this business, though I've never liked to say
so. I seem to want more room for sprawling ;
a more open space to strike out in than here
among friends and neighbours. I could get
rich as well as any man, if I tried my own
way."

" I wish you would ! What is your way ? "



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 123

" To go to sea again."

She had been the very one to keep him at
home, hating the semi-widowed existence of
sailors' wives. But her ambition checked her
instincts now, and she said

" Do you think success really lies that
way ? "

" I am sure it lies in no other."
" Do you want to go, Shadrach ? "
" Not for the pleasure of it, I can tell 'ee.
There's no such pleasure at sea, Joanna, as I
can find in my back parlour here. To speak
honest, I have no love for the brine. I never
had much. But if it comes to a question of a
fortune for you and the lads, it is another
thing. That's the only way to it for one born
and bred a seafarer as I."

" Would it take long to earn ? "
" Well, that depends ; perhaps not."
The next morning Shadrach pulled from a
chest of drawers the nautical jacket he had



124 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

worn during the first months of his return,
brushed out the moths, donned it, and walked
down to the quay. The port still did a fair
business in the Newfoundland trade, though
not so much as formerly.

It was not long after this that he invested all
he possessed in purchasing a part-ownership in
a brig, of which he was appointed captain.
A few months were passed in coast-trading,
during which interval Shadrach wore off the
land-rust that had accumulated upon him in
his grocery phase; and in the spring the brig
sailed for Newfoundland.

Joanna lived on at home with her sons, who
were now growing up into strong lads, and
occupying themselves in various ways about
the harbour and quay.

" Never mind, let them work a little," their
fond mother said to herself. " Our necessities
compel it now, but when Shadrach comes home
they will be only seventeen and eighteen, and



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 125

they shall be removed from the port, and their
education thoroughly taken in hand by a tutor;
and with the money they'll have they will per-
haps be as near to gentlemen as Emmy Lester's
precious two, with their algebra and their Latin.'*

The date for Shadrach's return drew near
and arrived, and he did not appear. Joanna
was assured that there was no cause for
anxiety, sailing-ships being so uncertain in
their coming ; which assurance proved to be
well-grounded, for late one wet evening, about
a month after the calculated time, the ship was
announced as at hand, and presently the slip-
slop step of Shadrach as the sailor sounded in
the passage, and he entered. The boys had
gone out and had missed him, and Joanna was
sitting alone.

As soon as the first emotion of reunion
between the couple had passed, Jolliffe explained
the delay as owing to a small speculative
contract, which had produced good results.



126 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

c4 1 was determined not to disappoint 'ee/'
he said ; " and I think you'll own that I
haven't."

With this he pulled out an enormous canvas
bag, full and rotund as the money-bag of the
giant whom Jack slew, untied it, and shook the
contents out into her lap as she sat in her low
chair by the fire. A mass of guineas (there
were guineas on the earth in those days) fell
into her lap with a sudden thud, weighing
down her gown to the floor.

" There ! " said Shadrach, complacently. " I
told 'ee, dear, I'd do it ; and have I done it or

?9J

Somehow her face, after the first excitement
of possession, did not retain its glory.

" It is a lot of gold, indeed," she said. " And
-is this aK?"

" All ? Why, dear Joanna, do you know you
can count to three hundred in that heap ? It is
a fortune ! "



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 127

" Yes yes. A fortune judged by sea ; but
judged by land "

However, she banished considerations of the
money for the nonce. Soon the boys came in,
and next Sunday Shadrach returned thanks
this time by the more ordinary channel of the
italics in the General Thanksgiving. But a
few days after, when the question of investing
the money arose, he remarked that she did not
seem so satisfied as he had hoped.

" Well, you see, Shadrach," she answered,
" we count by hundreds ; they count by
thousands" (nodding towards the other side of
the street). " They have set up a carriage and
pair since you left."

" Oh ! have they ? "

" My dear Shadrach, you don't know how the
world moves. However, we'll do the best we
can with it. But they are rich, and we are
poor still."

The greater part of a year was desultorily



128 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

spent. She moved sadly about the house and
shop, and the boys were still occupying
themselves in and around the harbour.

" Joanna," he said, one day, " I see by your
movements that it is not enough."

:4 It is not enough," said she. " My boys
will have to live by steering the ships that the
Lesters own, and I was once above her ! "

Jolliffe was not an argumentative man, and
he only murmured that he thought he would
take another voyage. He meditated for several
days, and coming home from the quay one
afternoon, said suddenly

" I could do it for 'ee, dear, in one more trip,
for certain, if if "

Do what, Shadrach ? "

"Enable 'ee to count by thousands instead of
hundreds."

" If what ? "

" If I might take the boys."

She turned pale.



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 129

" Don't say that, Shadrach," she answered
hastily.

"Why?"

" I don't like to hear it. There's danger at
sea. I want them to be something genteel,
and no danger to them. I couldn't let them
risk their lives at sea. Oh, I couldn't ever,
ever ! "

" Very well, dear, it shan't be done."

Next day, after a silence, she asked a
question

" If they were to go with you it would make
a great deal of difference, I suppose, to the
profit ? "

" 'T would treble what I should get from the
venture single-handed. Under my eye they
would be as good as two more of myself."

Later on she said, " Tell me more about
this?"

Well, the boys are almost as clever as
master -mariners in handling a craft, upon my



130 T^O PLEASE HIS WIFE.

life. There isn't a more cranky place in the
South Seas than about the sandbanks of this
harbour, and they've practised here from their
infancy. And they are so steady. I couldn't
get their steadiness and their trustworthiness
in half a dozen men twice their age."

" And is it very dangerous at sea ; now, too.,
there are rumours of war ? " she asked un-
easily.

" Oh, well, there be risks. Still "

The idea grew and magnified, and the
mother's heart was crushed and stifled by it.
Emmy was growing too patronizing ; it could
not be borne. Shadrach's wife could not help
nagging him about their comparative poverty.
The young men, amiable as their father, when
spoken to on the subject of a voyage of enter-
prise, were quite willing to embark ; and though
they, like their father, had no great love for
the sea, they became quite enthusiastic when
the proposal was detailed.



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 131

Everything now hung upon their mother's
assent. She withheld it long, but at last gave
the word : the young men might accompany
their father. Shadrach was unusually cheerful
about it : Heaven had preserved him hitherto,
and he had uttered his thanks. God would not
forsake those who were faithful to Him.

All that the Jolliffes possessed in the world
was put into the enterprise. The grocery stock
was pared down to the least that possibly could
afford a bare sustenance to Joanna during the
absence, which was to last through the usual
Newf'nland spell." How she would endure
the weary time she hardly knew, for the boys
had been with her formerly ; but she nerved
herself for the trial.

The ship was laden with boots and shoes,
ready-made clothing, fishing-tackle, butter,
cheese, cordage, sailcloth, and many other com-
modities ; and was to bring back oil, furs,
skins, fish, cranberries, and what else came to



132 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

hand. But much trading to other ports was to
be undertaken between the voyages out and
homeward, and thereby much money made.



III.

THE brig sailed on a Monday morning in
spring ; but Joanna did not witness its de-
parture. She could not bear the sight that she
had been the means of bringing about. Know-
ing this, her husband told her overnight that
they were to sail some time before noon next
day ; hence when, awakening at five the next
morning, she heard them bustling about down-
stairs, she did not hasten to descend, but lay try-
ing to nerve herself for the parting, imagining
they would leave about nine, as her husband
had done on his previous voyage. When
she did descend she beheld words chalked
upon the sloping face of the bureau ; but no



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 133

husband or sons. In the hastily scrawled lines
Shadrach said they had gone off thus not to
pain her by a leave-taking ; and the sons had
chalked under, " Good-bye, mother."

She rushed to the quay, and looked down the
harbour towards the blue rim of the sea, but
she could only see the masts and bulging sails
of the Joanna ; no human figures. "'Tis I
have sent them ! " she said wildly, and burst
into tears. In the house the chalked Good-
byes nearly broke her heart. But when she
had re-entered the front room, and looked
across at Emily's, a gleam of triumph lit her
thin face at her anticipated release from the
thraldom of subservience.

To do Emily Lester justice, her assumption
of superiority was mainly a figment of Joanna's
brain. That the circumstances of the mer-
chant's wife were more luxurious than Joanna's,
the former could not conceal ; though when-
ever the two met, which was not very often



134 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

now, Emily endeavoured to subdue the differ-
ence by every means in her power.

The first summer lapsed away ; and Joanna
meagrely maintained herself by the shop, which
now consisted of little more than a window
and a counter. Emily was, in truth, her only
large customer ; and Mrs. Lester's kindly readi-
ness to buy anything and everything without
questioning the quality had a sting of bitter-
ness in it, for it was the uncritical attitude of
a patron, and almost of a donor. The long
dreary winter moved on ; the face of the bureau
had been turned to the wall to protect the
chalked words of farewell, for she could never
bring herself to rub them out ; and she often
glanced at them with wet eyes. Emily's hand-
some boys came home for the Christmas holi-
days ; and still Joanna subsisted as it were with
held breath, like a person submerged. Only
one summer more, and the spell would end.
Towards the end of the time Emily called on



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 135

her quondam friend. She had heard that
Joanna began to feel anxious ; she had received
no letter from husband or sons for some months.
Emily's silks rustled arrogantly when, in re-
sponse to Joanna's almost dumb invitation, she
squeezed through the opening of the counter
and into the parlour behind the shop.

" You are all success, and I am all the other
way ! " said Joanna.

" But why do you think so ? " said Emily.
" They are to bring back a fortune, I hear."

" Ah, will they come ? The doubt is more
than a woman can bear. All three in one
ship think of that ! And I have not heard
of them for months ! "

" But the time is not up. You should not
meet misfortune half-way."

" Nothing will repay me for the grief of
their absence ! "

" Then why did you let them go ? You
were doing fairly well."



136 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

X

" I made them go I " she said, turning vehe-
mently upon Emily. " And I'll tell you why !
I could not bear that we should be only
muddling on, and you so rich and thriving.
Now I have told you, and you may hate me
if you will ! "

" I shall never hate you, Joanna."

And she proved the truth of her words after-
wards. The end of the autumn came, and the
brig should have been in port; but nothing
like the Joanna appeared in the channel betweer.
the sands. It was now really time to be uneasy.
Joanna Jolliffe sat by the fire, and every gust
of wind caused her a cold thrill. She had
always feared and detested the sea; to her it
was a treacherous, restless, slimy creature,
glorying in the griefs of women. " Still," she
said, " they must come ! "

She recalled to her mind that Shadrach had
said before starting that if they returned safe
and sound, with success crowning their enter-



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 137

prise, he would go as lie had gone after his
shipwreck, and kneel with his sons in the

church, and offer sincere thanks for their de-



liverance. She went to church regularly
morning and afternoon, and sat in the most
forward pew, nearest the chancel-step. Her
eyes were mostly fixed on that step, where
Shadrach had knelt in the bloom of his young
manhood : she knew to an inch the spot which
his knees had pressed twenty winters before ;
his outline as he had knelt, his hat on the
step beside him. God was good. Surely her
husband must kneel there again : a son on each
side as he had said ; George just here, Jim just
there. By long watching the spot as she
worshipped, it became as if she saw the three
returned ones there kneeling; the two slirn
outlines of her boys, the more bulky form
between them ; their hands clasped, their heads
shaped against the eastern wall. The fancy
grew almost to an hallucination ; she could



138 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

never turn her worn eyes to the step without
seeing them there.

Nevertheless they did not come. Heaven
was merciful, but it was not yet pleased to
relieve her soul. This was her purgation for
the sin of making them the slaves of her
ambition. But it became more than purgation
soon, and her mood approached despair. Months
had passed since the brig had been due, but it
had not returned.

Joanna was always hearing or seeing evi-
dences of their arrival. When on the hill
behind the port, whence a view of the open
Channel could be obtained, she felt sure that a
little speck on the horizon, breaking the eter-
nally level waste of waters southward, was the
truck of the Joannas mainmast. Or when
indoors, a shout or excitement of any kind at
the corner of the Town Cellar, where the High
Street joined the Quay, caused her to spring
to her feet and cry : " 'Tis they ! "




"WHEN ON THE HILL BEHIND THE PORT, WHENCE A VIEW OF THE CHANNEL
COULD BE OBTAINED, SHE FELT SURE THAT A LITTLE SPECK ON THE
HORIZON WAS THE TRUCK OF THE JOANNA'S MAINMAST."



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.



But it was not. The visionary forms knelt
every Sunday afternoon on the chancel step,
but not the real. Her shop had, as it were,
eaten itself hollow. In the apathy which had
resulted from her loneliness and grief she had
ceased to take in the smallest supplies, and thus
had sent away her last customer.

In this strait Emily Lester tried by every
means in her power to aid the afflicted woman ;
but she met with constant repulses.

" I don't like you ! I can't bear to see you ! "
Joanna would whisper hoarsely when Emily
came to her and made advances.

" But I want to help and soothe you, Joanna,"
Emily would say.

" You are a lady, with a rich husband and
fine sons. What can you want with a bereaved
crone like me ? "

" Joanna, I want this : I want you to come
and live in my house, and not stay alone in
this dismal place any longer."



142 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

" And suppose they come arid don't find me
at home ? You wish to separate me and mine !
No, I'll stay here. I don't like you, and I
can't thank you, whatever kindness you do
me."

However, as time went on, Joanna could not
afford to pay the rent of the shop and house
without an income. She was assured that all
hope of the return of Shadrach and his sons
was vain, and she reluctantly consented to
accept the asylum of the Lesters' house. Here
she was allotted a room of her own on the
second floor, and went and carne as she chose,
without contact with the family. Her hair
greyed and whitened, deep lines channelled her
forehead, and her form grew gaunt and stoop-
ing. But she still expected the lost ones, and
when she met Emily on the staircase she would
say morosely, " I know why you've got me
here ! They'll come, and be disappointed at riot
finding me at home, and perhaps go away



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 143

again; and then you'll be revenged for my
taking Shadrach away from 'ee."

Emily Lester bore these reproaches from the
grief-stricken soul. She was sure all the
people of Havenpool were sure that Shadrach
and his sons could not return. For years the
vessel had been given up as lost. Nevertheless,
when awakened at night by any noise, Joanna
would rise from bed and glance at the shop
opposite by the light from the flickering lamp,
to make sure it was not they.

It was a damp and dark December night, six
years after the departure of the brig Joanna.
The wind was from the sea, and brought up
a fishy mist which mopped the face like moist
flannel. Joanna had prayed her usual prayer
for the absent ones with more fervour and con-
fidence than she had felt for months, and had
fallen asleep about eleven. It must have been
between one and two when she suddenly started
up. She had certainly heard steps in the



144 TO PLEASE HIS WIFE.

street, and the voices of Shadrach and her sons
calling at the door of the grocery shop. She
sprang out of bed, and, hardly knowing what
clothing she dragged on herself, hastened down
Emily's large and carpeted staircase, put the
candle on the hall-table, unfastened the bolts
and chain, and stepped into the street. The
mist, blowing up the street from the Quay,
hindered her seeing the shop, although it was
so near ; but she had crossed to it in a moment.
How was it ? Nobody stood there. The
wretched woman walked wildly up and down
with her bare eet there was not a soul. She
returned and knocked with all her might at the
door which had once been her own they might
have been admitted for the night, unwilling to
disturb her till the morning. It was not till
several minutes had elapsed that the young
man who now kept the shop looked out of an
upper window, and saw the skeleton of some-
thing human standing below half dressed.



TO PLEASE HIS WIFE. 145

" Has anybody arrived ? " asked the form.

" Oh, Mrs. Jolliffe, I didn't know it was
you," said the young man, kindly, for he was
aware how her baseless expectations moved her.
" No ; nobody has come."



THE GHOST OF THE PAST.

BY MRS. E. LYNN LINTON.



WE all have our times of
suprernest bliss our days of
intensest brilliancy. They
may be as short-lived as a
morning glory, or they may
last as long as a summer
garden, but there they are
times when we are absolutely
content when we see no clouds on the horizon
and forget the storms that lie behind us days
when the flaming sword is sheathed and the
Gates of Eden stand open, and we walk
through the meadows of asphodel and ama-




MES. E. LYNN LINTON.



THE GHOST OF THE PAST. 147

ranth, believing in their everlasting beauty,
peace, and fragrance. The glory of fulfilled
ambition makes this time for some, and Honour
clothes the sky with stars that dazzle as they
shine ; but Love, dear Love, is the sun itself
and gives us the sweetest and most exquisite of
all our joys. Love, dear Love ! what can equal
it for the soul's delight ! It combines in itself
all the lustrous hues of life ; it is the chord
wherein sound all its loveliest harmonies. It
transforms poverty to wealth ; and it builds
that divine City of Enchantment where the
queen is always fair and the prince is always
young. It is the gladdest minister, if also the
cruellest master of man. When we love and
are beloved, we sit with the gods on the hill
of Heaven ; when we love and are not beloved,
through change, satiety, or death, we are cast
down into hell with Lucifer and the fallen
angels. Meantime, while we are young while
the sun shines and the heart beats high and



148 THE GHOST OF THE PAST.

kisses are still fresh to the lips while the
roses are in bud and before the silver streaks
the gold the gods are our friends and earth
is our Paradise. We love and are beloved ;
and there is no death nor sorrow in the world !


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